T-34/76 Model 1943 Chelyabinsk
Manufacturer: Al.By (Kit # 930)
Many people feel that Al.By is the undisputed Master at small scale resin tank making. Although I feel that they are now getting competition from other companies, they still rank as one of the best. This kit demonstrates why.
The base for the kit is the out-of-production ESCI T-34 kit. Al.By made some minor modifications to the ESCI hull, which improves the final product considerably. Some of the changes include the addition of spare track links to the fenders, some handholds on the engine access hatches, nicer mufflers, and the removal of the storage boxes and equipment tie-downs from the hull side. The lower hull is also copied from ESCI, but the wheel axles have been greatly improved, and better detail added to the sides of the lower hull. As far as I can tell, the only other copied ESCI parts are the tow shackles, the gun, the tracks, and the storage boxes (but as separate parts).
The wheels are exquisite. There are four sets of solid disk wheels (two per side) and six sets of all-metal wheels (three per side). (Only representative examples are shown in the above scan). The solid disk wheels with rubber tires may have originally been based on the ESCI kit wheels, but they have been altered so extensively, that they are practically new. The addition of the rim bolts helps considerably, but the major improvement is the wheel hubs, which are now finally molded with the level of relief necessary, and which is only possible with cast resin. If Al.By would market these wheel sets separately, I would buy half a dozen sets right now. The all-metal wheels are likewise magnificent. Neither the ESCI nor the AER kit wheels even come close to these in quality. Again, Al.By should seriously consider marketing them separately.
The turret is also fantastic. It is hollow-cast, which is unusual for resin kits, and the hatches are open (with latch detail on both the insides and outsides of the hatches). The lift rings, and hand-hold brackets are provided as etched-brass parts. The gun and mantlet are molded as one piece. Also included, but not shown in the parts scan is a length of fine fishing line, which I assume is meant to be used to replicate the hand holds on the turret.
This is one of the best resin tank kits I have ever seen, and I highly recommend it to others.
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